1 Information Technology Division Service Desk Strategic Plan The Best Place to Start T ASK FORCE M EMBERS: Debbie Aguilera Griffin Canak Patrick Holland Gary Chacon May 2006
2 TABLE OF CONTENTS TAB 1 Introduction...1 TAB 2 First Objective People...3 Staffing Levels...4 Service and Support...4 Organization...5 TAB 3 Second Objective Process...6 Service Level Agreement...6 Incident Resolution and Escalation Process...6 Industry Metrics...7 TAB 4 Third Objective Products and Partners...8 Software...8 Telecommunications...9 TAB 5 Addendum A Cost Summary...11 TAB 6 Adendum B Job Descriptions...12 Service Desk Supervisor...13 Service Desk Attendant...14 Tab 7 Addendum C Best Practices...16 Tab 8 Addendum D Product Details...32
3 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Introduction EPCC is the fastest growing community college in the country. As a result, EPCC has outgrown its Service / Help Desk infrastructure and is in need of new processes, software and telecommunication systems, and a reorganization of people providing help desk services. Currently, the Service Desk supports approximately 3,200 employees, 31,000 students, and 4,300 computers. The current inbound call load overwhelms existing resources, causing slow response times and dissatisfied customers. In addition, the process of responding to and delegating technical support requests needs to be modified in a way to reduce call response times, minimize the cost of providing support, while providing quality service to EPCC s customers. In deploying the new system, EPCC intends to use the standards and best practices developed by the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is an organization that created a set of IT standards that have been adopted world-wide. ITIL focuses on the efficient and effective use of People, Process, Products, and Partners. This strategic plan addresses each of these items to ensure a successful implementation of a new Service Desk solution. The first objective of this strategic plan is to review and modify current Service / Help Desk staffing levels. Currently, there is only one full-time person servicing the Help Desk. Part-time, temporary STS students are used to provide additional support; however, more staffing is needed. When the college s Service Desk statistics are measured and compared against industry norms, it is obvious that the current levels of support are insufficient to handle the existing call volume in a timely and efficient manner. Based on Work Order quality assurance reports and interviews with faculty and staff, response time is the area most in need of improvement.
4 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Quality Assurance Summary Results (2005) Helpfulness Friendliness Knowledge Service Professionalism Response Results are based on a 5 point scale: 1 = lowest, 5 = highest The second objective is to review the Service / Help Desk processes. Where calls used to be prioritized and reacted to, a more proactive model is needed. Under new ITIL standards, requests are now classified as either an incident or a problem, where the priority is to first respond to issues creating downtime, while dedicating resources to fix problems that can have a significant or long term impact on operations. Implementing processes and tools that will increase first-call resolution levels saves time and money and improves customer satisfaction. Finally, adopting industry standard terminology helps to set expectations and identify roles. The last objective is the review of new Service / Help Desk products necessary to improve the existing processes and systems, including software and telecommunications. The current Service Desk software application is a custom system that has served EPCC well up until now, but must be upgraded to meet EPCC s growing needs. Also, the current Service Desk telecommunications system does not allow for auto-attendant services or call queuing, both of which are critical for the effective handling of inbound calls. A more effective way of contacting and dispatching technicians at the campuses is also needed. Based on these objectives, the Service Desk Task Force visited other organizations including El Paso Independent School District, El Paso County, and Sun Apparel to review their processes and systems. In addition, the team analyzed best-of-breed software and processes, and has assembled this plan to address the changes needed so that EPCC can provide its customers with technical support that meets or exceeds expectations.
5 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan First Objective - People The following tables show current El Paso Community College Service Desk statistics: Hours of Operation of Service Desk Monday Thursday Friday Saturday 6:00am - 10:00pm 6:00am - 5:00pm 8:00am - 4:00pm Current number of supported employees, students, and computers Employees 3,172 Students 30,396 Computers 4,300 Service Desk Attendant to Computer Ratio 1:4300 Call volume from October 2005 through January 2006 Month Work Orders Other Pipeline Online Registration Web CT Active Directory Novell Outlook Total October ,020 November December January ,284 Monthly Average ,184 Daily Average These numbers do not include calls made directly to IT technicians. Other calls are CARES-related. Number of completed work orders from October 2005 through February 2006 Completed Work Orders October November December January February Monthly Average Network Netware Banner MSU Total
6 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Staffing Levels Currently, there is only one full-time employee (FTE) covering the Service Desk. STS students are used to provide approximately 20 hours of supplemental coverage, but because of the fluctuating nature of STS student work hours, the fact that school must take a priority with STS students, and the fact that the STS program was designed to provide work experience to students so that they can more easily find employment elsewhere, work force continuity at the Service Desk has become a problem. With the current hours of operation, a total of 83 hours per week of Service Desk coverage is provided by the college. Given the existing hours of operation, and the fact that current staffing levels cannot handle the existing call volume, it is clear that more FTE s are required. When one considers the fact that Online and Distance Learning courses are making it necessary to expand Service Desk coverage even further, plus the fact that the call volume is expected to increase as the college begins implementing measures to increase security (individual logon ID s for lab computers, password expiration policies, etc.), it is obvious that this problem will only get worse. For an organization the size of EPCC, rule of thumb metrics indicate that on average, one (1) Service Desk analyst is required for every 1000 computers. When one considers the fact that there are over 4,000 computers in the district, this provides further justification for hiring additional FTE s. Service and Support As part of the college s recent migration to Active Directory, a tool called Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) was deployed. This new tool will allow Service Desk personnel to remotely connect to computers to immediately support and help users where remote control is required. This will also provide a means for remotely training customers on quick-to-resolve items where a formal class would not be required. First-Call Resolution will have an immediate impact on the number of work orders handled by the IT Department and will minimize the number of times that technicians are required to perform less-efficient site visits. Research and site visits with other organizations have shown that over 50% of trouble calls could be resolved by the Service Desk if structured properly. Based on this, more problems could be solved by the Service Desk, and fewer people would need to be dispatched, resulting in reduced incident response times and allowing the IT Department to provide proactive problem and change management.
7 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Organization Based on these figures a new organization chart needs to be established. New positions need to be created to handle the current call volume and manage personnel responding to the calls. A total of four Service Desk Attendants plus one Service Desk Supervisor will be required to effectively manage call volume. The proposed plan is to hire a new Service Desk Supervisor and one full-time Service Desk Attendant. PC Systems Specialists will rotate to cover the third full-time position, while STS students will cover the forth position. Additional PC Systems Specialists and STS students will provide coverage on an as-needed basis, especially during peak times in January and September. These changes in the organization will immediately reduce the number of work orders processed by the PC Systems Specialists and improve incident resolution times. Service Desk Supervisor Service Desk Attendant (FTE) Service Desk Attendant (FTE) PC Systems Specialist (FTE) STS Student See Addendum B for the Service Desk Supervisor and Service Desk Attendant Job Descriptions Service Desk Coverage 6:00 AM 7:00 AM 8:00 AM 9:00 AM 10:00 AM 11:00 AM 12:00 PM 1:00 PM 2:00 PM 3:00 PM 4:00 PM 5:00 PM 6:00 PM 7:00 PM 8:00 PM 9:00 PM 10:00 PM 10:00 PM - 6:00 AM HELPDESK ATTENDANT HELPDESK ATTENDANT ON -CALL TECH Mon STS STS PC SYSTEMS SPECIALIST HELPDESK SUPERVISOR HELPDESK ATTENDANT HELPDESK ATTENDANT ON -CALL TECH Tue STS STS PC SYSTEMS SPECIALIST HELPDESK SUPERVISOR HELPDESK ATTENDANT HELPDESK ATTENDANT ON -CALL TECH Wed STS STS PC SYSTEMS SPECIALIST HELPDESK SUPERVISOR HELPDESK ATTENDANT HELPDESK ATTENDANT ON -CALL TECH Thrs STS STS PC SYSTEMS SPECIALIST HELPDESK SUPERVISOR HELPDESK ATTENDANT ON-CALL TECH Fri STS STS PC SYSTEMS SPECIALIST HELPDESK SUPERVISOR HELPDESK ATTENDANT ON-CALL TECH Sat ON-CALL TECH Sun
8 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Second Objective - Process For many users, the Service Desk is the most visible aspect of EPCC s Information Technology Department. For this reason, it is important that Service Desk Attendants have both technical and customer service training. Processes and procedures must be implemented to help identify trends, recognize strengths and weaknesses, and proactively intercept future problems. Service Level Agreement It is important that customers know what to expect when they call for support, that they are handled in a courteous and consistent way, and that they receive frequent updates on the status and resolution of their problem. According to the Help Desk Institute (HDI), roughly half of all companies with a Service Desk use Service Level Agreements (SLA). An SLA defines how the Service Desk responds to incidents, what response times a customer can expect, and how problems get escalated. In addition, the SLA defines hours of operation, methods of communication, maintenance windows, and how calls are handled after hours. An SLA also helps IT personnel, who provide the service and support, to clearly understand their responsibilities in meeting these objectives. An SLA must be drafted by the IT Department to identify these items and to ensure that expectations are communicated to EPCC s customers and support personnel. Incident Resolution and Escalation Process Currently, the Service Desk Attendant answers inbound calls and requests, and attempts to either answer the customer s question directly or transfer it to one of the PC Systems Specialists or other network or system specialist for resolution. Calls are logged in the existing system and monitored until the incident or problem is resolved. To make it easier for the Service Desk Attendants to escalate problems and delegate trouble tickets to those who are responsible for the various systems, the duties and responsibilities of PC Systems Specialists and network and system support personnel must be documented. On-call support personnel will be required to monitor, track, resolve, and close trouble tickets within the new system. The following diagram details this process.
9 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Industry Metrics ITIL has established standards for IT Service Desk best practices. Using these practices, plus definitions and metrics available from the Help Desk Institute, the following resolution rates can be expected for each of the key support levels. Description Resolution Rate Level 0 Self Help 6% Level 1 Service Desk Attendant, includes 57% Password Resets Level 2 Service Desk Attendant, includes 23% Remote Control Level 3 Network & Server Support Personnel, Programmers and Developers, 3 rd Party Support, Desktop Support 9% As can be seen, implementing these best practices should significantly increase first-call resolution levels. This increases efficiencies which in turn saves time and money and improves customer satisfaction. See Addendum C for Service Desk Best Practices
10 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Third Objective Products and Partners Software Key to a successful Service Desk is implementing the tools which will provide the means of tracking incidents from inception through resolution. Several criteria were considered when reviewing software packages, specifically: Must be web-based Built-in knowledge-base Self-Help tool for students and faculty Integration with SMS to allow remote control of desktop Integration with IVR, automated call logging Support telephony and other types of work orders Tie-in with network monitoring Bulletin Board (to announce upgrades, planned outages, etc.) Ability to track a W/O s progress (including input from Networking, PC Systems Specialists, and Service Desk Send updates on status and resolution automatically Generate surveys Another important criteria is that the software package must be well supported in the educational community. The Service Desk Task Force made site visits to El Paso Independent School District, Sun Apparel, and El Paso County. Phone interviews were also conducted with Ysleta Independent School District and the University of Texas at El Paso. EPISD, YISD and UTEP are all users of CA Unicenter Service Desk, the software application that was found that would best meet the criteria established. The following table depicts the results of these site visits.
11 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan El Paso ISD El Paso County Sun Apparel Service Desk Software CA Unicenter (Concurrent Licenses: Heat / Frontrange Magic / Network Associates 25) Tech Support Personnel Service Desk Analysts: 2 Tech Site Coordinators (also enter work orders): 12 Desktop Support Technicians: 11 Service Desk Analysts: 3 (2 primary) Service Desk Supervisor: 1 Desktop Support Technicians: 7 Service Desk Analysts: 6 Workstations (4000 Users) 5000 Work Orders/Day Calls/Day Desktop Mgmt Software Alteris & Zenworks Dameware Remote Control Dameware Remote Control % 1st Call Resolution 15% 75% 60% - 70% Support Hours 8:00am - 4:20pm, M - F 7:30am - 5:30pm Phone System Cisco VoIP with IVR 4 lines then goes to voic IVR The following are budgetary numbers for the purchase and integration of CA Unicenter Service Desk : CA Unicenter Service Desk (10 user concurrent licences) $14,000 Installation and Configuration provided by Computer Associates (2 weeks) $20,000 Dell Blade Server (to be installed in the existing Dell Blade Cabinet) $3,000 Total $37,000 See Addendum D for Product Details Once approved, the following timeline can be expected for implementation: Specification and Purchase of Product Installation and Configuration Training Total Time to Complete Project 4 weeks 2 weeks Training will be provided during Installation and Configuration 6 weeks Telecommunications Many calls are being received by the Service Desk that are not technical in nature. Also, customers often call technicians directly, bypassing the Service Desk, so that some calls are not logged. To ensure that the expected level of service is provided and to ensure that inbound requests are logged, delegated, and tracked, all initial contact should be through the Service Desk.
12 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan To facilitate this, a system which supports automated call logging, routing, and queuing, must be implemented. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system should be installed for this purpose. An IVR system will also allow EPCC to integrate into a single Call Center other support lines such as the CARES Line which supports Banner requests, Luminis / Campus Pipeline, WebCT, and the PBX operators. A new IVR system will allow Service Desk Attendants to log into a queue and support customers on demand. The system will also allow auto-queuing and assignment of inbound calls to attendants as they become available. Finally, an IVR system that is Voice over IP (VoIP) based will integrate directly with CA Unicenter Service Desk to allow inbound caller information to automatically display on the attendant s desktop. This portion of the project will be specified and completed in a second phase and as part of a VoIP pilot project. To more efficiently dispatch support personnel, two-way Sprint Nextel wireless phones that allow automatic notification of incident assignments and monitoring of events via text messaging is recommended. These phones will also allow for more immediate communications between the Service Desk and the PC Systems Specialists at the campuses. The current solution where PC Systems Specialists carry a pager in addition to their personal cell phones is not efficient. See Addendum D for Product Details
13 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Addendum A Cost Summary Projected Costs Current Proposed Service Desk Attendant (One) 26,354 Service Desk Attendant (Two) 52,708 - $26,354 Service Desk Supervisor (One) 33,349 PC Systems Specialist 32,267 STS 5,426 STS 5,426 Training Training - Soft Skills Soft Skills 2,000 - Technical 8,000 Yearly Cost $32,280 $133,750 In-House Software 0 CA Unicenter Service Desk 37,000 Furniture and Equipment 4,600 One-Time Cost $0 $41,600
14 EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan Addendum B Job Descriptions Service Desk Supervisor Service Desk Attendant
15 Addendum C Best Practices EPCC Service Desk Strategic Plan
16 June 28, 2005 Thirty-One Best Practices For The Service Desk by Chip Gliedman BEST PRACTICES Helping Business Thrive On Technology Change
17 BEST PRAC TICES Includes Business Technographics Data June 28, 2005 Thirty-One Best Practices For The Service Desk by Chip Gliedman with Meredith Morris, John Ragsdale, and Jessica Harrington EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Forrester recently surveyed 2,138 technology users at US companies to uncover their opinion of their company s IT organization and its technologies. While users are generally satisfied with the technologies their company has adopted, such as desktop technology and business applications, the IT organization needs to work on its help desk support and communication. Just 53% of users report being satisfied or very satisfied with their help desk support. This is cause for concern. As the help desk or service desk is the face of the IT organization, loss of help desk credibility can negatively affect IT perception, potentially resulting in tighter budgets, longer approval cycles, and a reduction in the overall role of IT in driving business change. Help desk organizations must assess their competencies, find areas for potential improvement, and grow. A list of best practices can serve as the starting point for such an evaluation and improvement process. Use this list to reconsider what you re doing and why, and what you should be doing and when. Balance each potential change in a practice, procedure, or technology with a cost/benefit analysis. TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 Help Desk Needs Help 3 Best Practices For People And Organizations 6 Best Practices For Service Desk Processes And Procedures 9 Best Practices For Service Desk Technology RECOMMENDATIONS 13 Cast A Cold Eye Upon Thyself NOTES & RESOURCES Forrester has surveyed, interviewed, or assessed hundreds of internal and external service desks and service desk users. Through these discussions and evaluations, we ve seen what works, what doesn t work, and how hard it sometimes is to see what is really going on within one s own organization. Related Research Documents Simplicity Theme Appeals To Service Management May 16, 2005, Quick Take Help Desk Or Service Desk: Difference Or Hype? March 11, 2005, Trends Trends 2005: IT Service Desk November 1, 2004, Trends 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester, Forrester Oval Program, Forrester Wave, WholeView 2, Technographics, and TechRankings are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. Forrester clients may make one attributed copy or slide of each figure contained herein. Additional reproduction is strictly prohibited. For additional reproduction rights and usage information, go to Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. To purchase reprints of this document, please
18 2 Best Practices Thirty-One Best Practices For The Service Desk HELP DESK NEEDS HELP In Forrester s Business Technographics March 2005 United States Technology User Benchmark Study, we surveyed 2,138 technology users outside of the IT organization at US companies with 500 or more employees. 1 Although 53% of users are satisfied with the help desk s support overall, 41% are on the fence with their opinion (see Figure 1). Courtesy of staff is not an issue, but areas like time to resolve requests, timeliness of status updates, and even help desk expertise could use improvement in users eyes. A periodic assessment of service desk or help desk practices may identify areas of potential improvement to help reposition the help desk higher in the eyes of its customers. 2 To improve, an organization must assess its current practices against those used in other organizations, or best practices. Simply put, a best practice is the most effective way to get something done. These practices, processes, and procedures have emerged as proven models for the majority of organizations. However, best practices are dynamic, evolving over time to adapt to changing needs. Periodically, new methods, models, and technologies arise, augmenting or replacing the existing best practice with a new one. Comparing responses of those who are satisfied with those who are dissatisfied with their help desk shows the areas that make the biggest difference in help desk satisfaction. Look at these specific areas, as well as lessons learned from help desk organizations worldwide (see Figure 2). 3 Periodically review current practices against such lists and identify opportunities for improvement. Figure 1 The Help Desk Is Not Meeting Customer Expectations How would you describe your level of satisfaction with your company s IT help desk in the following areas? Satisfied On the fence Dissatisfied Courtesy of the help desk Availability of help desk staff in particular, your ability to reach them in a timely manner Promptness of copier/printer services, repairs, or toner refills 55% 55% 76% 22% 38% 6% 38% 7% 1% Expertise of the help desk staff 53% 41% 7% The help desk s ability to resolve your requests in a timely manner 53% 40% 7% The help desk s ability to resolve your request successfully the 51% 42% 8% first time around Timeliness of updates regarding the status of your issue 49% 41% 10% Base: 2,138 technology users at US companies (percentages may not total 100 because of rounding) Source: Forrester's Business Technographics March 2005 United States Technology User Benchmark Study Source: Forrester Research, Inc. June 28, , Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
19 Best Practices Thirty-One Best Practices For The Service Desk 3 Figure 2 Differences Between Satisfied And Dissatisfied Users Point To Best Practices How would you describes your level of satisfaction with your company s IT help desk in the following areas? Satisfied On the fence Dissatisfied Satisfaction level with help desk support services Availability of help desk staff -- in particular, your ability to reach them in a timely manner Satisfied 80% 19% 1% Dissatisfied 12% 44% 44% The help desk s ability to resolve your request successfully the first time around Satisfied 78% 21% 1% Dissatisfied 7% 45% 49% Timeliness of updates regarding the status of your issues Satisfied 76% 23% 2% Dissatisfied 10% 37% 53% Expertise of the help desk staff Satisfied 79% 20% 1% Dissatisfied 8% 44% 49% Base: 1,194 technology users who are satisfied or dissatisfied with their IT help desk Source: Forrester's Business Technographics March 2005 United States Technology User Benchmark Study Source: Forrester Research, Inc. BEST PRACTICES FOR PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS The core of the help desk is its people. Evaluate how you hire, train, and manage your people to build the optimal organization. Among the practices we ve observed, we ve identified the following key best practices for people and organizations. 1. Hire The Right People In addition to the technical and communication skills required to perform the user support functions, the ability to handle stressful situations and grumpy users is also a requisite. Behavioral analysis shows that people generally look to past experiences to guide their behavior in a given circumstance. In times of stress, this repetition of previous behavior is virtually certain. Therefore, when interviewing potential help desk staff, slant questions away from, What would you do in this situation? which will likely elicit the right answer. Instead, ask candidates to describe a time when 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 28, 2005
20 4 Best Practices Thirty-One Best Practices For The Service Desk they were faced with a specific set of circumstances. Ask, What did you do in that situation? Look to the past to learn the behavior you can expect in the future. 2. Train Your Business Users Employees who are effectively trained on how to use company technologies, such as business applications, are more likely to view the help desk as very important to their job and rate their support services as satisfactory. Three-quarters of technology influencers who received effective training on their company s packaged business applications, compared with 26% of influencers who did not receive effective training, are satisfied with their IT help desk. 4 Better-trained employees are better equipped to make use of their help desk support. 3. Train Your Help Desk Staff Almost half of business users are either on the fence or dissatisfied with the expertise of the help desk staff. The need to complement and supplement on-the-job training with more formalized programs to improve both technical and business prowess is well understood. Few managers would be willing to eliminate the training line item from their proposed budgets. However, few organizations we have assessed have been able to retain or use their full allocations of training over the course of a budget year. Industry surveys, such as those conducted annually by the Help Desk Institute, confirm these findings. 5 It is far easier for most managers to justify canceling or deferring a training session that removes one or more of the staff from the call queue than it is to face potential short-term service issues. 4. Lower The Common Point Of Management Check your organization chart. Envision support scenarios requiring communication and allocation of resources outside of the service desk and see how high in the organizational chart you have to go to find a common point of contact between the service desk and the resources required to fix or change the relevant systems. We recently reviewed one organization where all key business systems are developed, hosted, and supported by a US-based IT organization. However, each international service desk reported up through the local country operations manager, who, in turn, reported to a vice president of larger geographic regions. As a result, the lowest common point of management at this organization between the local support and the IT applications developers was the chief operating officer of the corporation. It is no wonder that non US-based users were dissatisfied with the perceived performance of the local service desks. Absent the ability to reorganize across these geographies, ensure that escalation paths and expected responses are clear and mutually agreed upon by all parties. 5. Don t Confuse Decentralized Location And Decentralized Control It is still difficult for many organizations to support a management structure spanning multiple geographies. However, an organization supporting multiple locations should strive to place June 28, , Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
21 Best Practices Thirty-One Best Practices For The Service Desk 5 resources close to the users if economically viable. Locating support staff remotely does not automatically imply local management (see point above). Control (management and organization) should be centralized for all personnel supporting a given type of user, regardless of their location. 6. Don t Scrimp On Staff Service desk demand models are not linear. The number of reported incidents varies by time of day and day of week, as well as varying in required time to resolve. Staffing based on average demand will lead to customer dissatisfaction during such peak demand periods as mid-morning and early afternoon. Other than resetting customer expectations that service levels during these times will be worse than at nonpeak times, the best help desks either staff for the peak and then have the staff work on projects during slower periods, or have additional staff, such as second- or third-level personnel with other responsibilities, available and accountable to backfill peak demands as needed. 7. Adopt A Customer-Focused Charter One organization we worked with had a charter that described its goals using a very internally focused set of descriptors, such as, We provide timely and effective problem resolution and We are cost mindful and value driven. Shifting the words to put the users/clients into the charter begins the repositioning of IT as a service organization. After tweaking, the new charter included, We solve customer problems timely, take ownership of customer problems, and keep customers informed as problems are resolved and We balance the needs of businesses with fiscal restraint. 8. Re-evaluate Your Remote-Access And After-Hours Support Policies And Processes The era of the eight-hour, five-day work week is long over. A substantial proportion of businesspeople have technical needs outside of these periods and from a potentially wide variety of locations. Rather than relying on information from call logs and problem tracking systems, survey your users as to their off-hours support needs. The calls may not be coming in, not because there are no problems, but because the users are not expecting anyone to be there a circle where each side s behavior reinforces preconceptions. Regardless of the support model chosen to cover off hours, the users must have resources available as required to ensure business continuity. The processes and procedures for receiving off-hours support should be available on-demand to a user with access only to a telephone. Best practice points to a message outlining the process to be followed on the main help desk phone line, rather than an online directory of services, as the problem at hand may prevent connecting to such a directory. 9. Compensate After-Hours Support Correctly Consult the experts when designing an after-hours compensation plan. Local labor laws may create land mines for an unwary manager if help desk staff covering after-hour periods put either nonexempt status or standard work days/weeks at jeopardy , Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited June 28, 2005